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Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

I was born in Wisconsin, as was my dad, and his dad, which means that we are Green Bay Packers fans. Cheeseheads. We bleed green and gold. Our hearts belong to St. Vincent and Lambeau Field. Our loyalty is defined by our history and our sense of place. 

Unlike my dad and his dad and most of the rest of my family, I don’t understand football. I’ve tried. I went to a Big Ten school and attended all of the home football games, but honestly, that was mostly to see my friends in the marching band. (I’m not making…

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Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

I’ve been enjoying Michael Lewis’s new book, The Undoing Project, which picks up where Moneyball left off: When it comes to sports recruitment, if the numbers are more reliable than human judgment, the next question is why? What’s going on in the human mind that makes even the experts’ top picks hit-or-miss?

One answer is the inevitable confirmation bias. The following definition comes to us from our magazine’s recent Mental Health issue: “The tendency to experience the world through the lens of your already held beliefs. If you think, before you’ve eaten there, that La Frontera is a terrible restaurant…the odds are in favor of you hating it…

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Does Hockey Have a Soul? Thoughts on a Cruciform Zamboni

Does Hockey Have a Soul? Thoughts on a Cruciform Zamboni

Here’s one from hockey enthusiast, our friend, Scott Dalton.

If you’ve been paying much attention this season to ESPN’s commentary on the NHL, this article may have caught you off guard.

In the seemingly endless stream of ESPN’s NHL news, there sits an article written by John Buccigross that attempts to tap into the spirituality of one of America’s most violent sports: hockey.

With striking and overt spiritual imagery, Buccigross draws parallels to Catholic confession and an endless cycle of “rinse and repeat” justification he experienced in high school. He credits hockey for a feeling of renewal.

For Buccigross the Zamboni has been a…

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Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

The other day, a dear friend posted a photo on Instagram that piqued my interest immediately. It showed her son, wearing a gi, proudly holding up a broken board. Her caption said “Joel the white belt.” Now, as proud as I am about my dear friend’s kid’s achievements, this wasn’t what drew my attention. The thing I noticed immediately was the the board, though split down the middle, had “Good job!” written on it. It also had Joel’s name, the date, and the name of the Grand Master who, I assume, oversaw the accomplishment. Here’s the fascinating thing, though: the…

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Tim Tebow’s Big God

Tim Tebow’s Big God

I’d be thrilled to have Tim Tebow as a son-in-law if my daughters weren’t spoken for. Look at him, he’s pretty perfect. Listen to him, he’s pretty easy to like. At ESPN HQ in Bristol, Connecticut, word is that everyone who works there with him loves him. He’s a super nice, cute, likable dude. I’m a Harry Connick Jr. fan too–best American Idol judge of all-time, and I watched all the seasons. So, this little exchange should be “can’t miss,” correct? Actually, that would depend on your definition of “Big God.” Take a listen:

Did you catch all that? Tim Tebow…

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 30:  Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs speaks to the media after the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in Game Five of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field on October 30, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 678125953 ORIG FILE ID: 619364242

Reversing the Curse by Making the Worst Decisions

If the Chicago Cubs had lost game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night, their manager Joe Maddon wouldn’t have been run out of the Windy City on a rail (he has to much pedigree for that) but he would have been buying his own deep dish pizza for a while. Talk about first world problems. Over their 108 years of futility (the longest drought  in professional sports history without a championship) the Cubs have had some great teams that played great only to be cursed by the most random of circumstances that were beyond their control. There was…

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Monday Morning Mental Health Break (with Danny MacAskill and Bobby D)

Barely noon and day already made. Plus, The Divine Comedy…!

P.S. You can listen to the obligatory Dylan sermon below, delivered yesterday at Christ Church Charlottesville. Major ht to BJ.

Speaking of which, if you’re not signed up for our weekly sermon podcast, The Mockingpulpit, what are you waiting for?

What is Faith?: A Look at the Religiosity of Football Fans

What is Faith?: A Look at the Religiosity of Football Fans

This one was written by the inimitable Duo Dickinson, who recently guested on The Mockingcast.

What is faith?

For those who are very proud of the absence of faith in anything other than facts, faith is a desirable implication of combined data points: if you are having a picnic you have faith in the “Partly Cloudy” forecast on Weather.Com but are not-so-faithful to the verity of The Farmer’s Almanac.

For those who are faithful in the absence of data points faith tends to be what is hoped to be true because you want whatever that unknown is to happen: you want it to be…

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Bill James at the Bottom of the Order

Bill James at the Bottom of the Order

This one was written by our friend Larry Parsley.

Brian Kenny, the popular sports anchor for the MLB Network, has penned a delightfully polemical take on baseball stats in Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution. Kenny is definitely on the side of the geeks. He sets his book up as a battle between the unsung heroes (baseball stat guys, ostentatiously referred to as ‘sabermetricians’) and the rubes (old school managers, retired ballplayers, and members of the Baseball Writers Association of America). As far as Kenny is concerned, the old school baseball people adopt a “purposeful ignorance” when it comes to the…

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Tennis Gods and Failing Bodies

Tennis Gods and Failing Bodies

This one comes to us from Lindsey Hepler. 

When I was eighteen years old, during that awkward summer between graduating from high school and starting college, I took a trip to London with my parents. By a stroke of luck and happenstance, my two sisters were away on their own adventures, so I got to be the only child for a week. It was a fantastic trip—complete with a 24 hour jaunt to Paris, a meal so memorable, I still think about it, and two days at Wimbeldon—for the men’s and women’s finals, no less. My parents are avid tennis players,…

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Washington Football Just Can’t Win

Washington Football Just Can’t Win

♫ Are you ready for some football? ♫ We’re a less than a month away from professional gridiron action and even closer to our beloved college ball. Living in Morgantown WV, home to my WVU Mountaineers, the start of football season induces a Pavlovian happiness into my small community. Relief from summer heat, fall foliage, harvest festivals, the holiday season, it’s all coming right alongside the thunderous crush of helmets and shoulder pads.

And yet, despite the near universal joy that football brings, no thing is untouched by sin. There is much to be said about concussions and the increase in head injury. Violence and…

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A-Rod’s Legacy: It’s Complicated

A-Rod’s Legacy: It’s Complicated

Normally, a great athlete announcing his/her retirement provides an opportunity to reflect on a legacy. Image-management, tweaking of narratives and ad nauseam SportsCenter coverage often ensue. For professional athletes, therefore, this can be viewed as a strategic opportunity to forge a lasting impact, like a President in the final year of his second term. Different players choose to handle the retirement issue in different ways. Michael Jordan retired three times, Brett Favre stumbled over it so much we were eventually begging him to leave and Peyton Manning stepped into his next job as Papa Johns and Budweiser PR-man on the…

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